Book Reviews

#Review: Safe With Me by K.L. Slater @bookouture @KimLSlater

Safe with Me cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

When Anna was a child, something terrible happened and destroyed her family. Anna has always laid the blame for that horrific event at the feet of a single person: Carla Bevin. Thirteen years later, Anna is leading a boringly routine life and having difficulties at work, her only friend her elderly neighbor, when she is witness to a car-motorcycle accident. She is enraged when she recognizes the driver as Carla, who calls herself Amanda Danson. Anna is determined to make her pay for what she did to her family, and manages to ingratiate herself with Liam—the injured motorcyclist—and his grandmother, Ivy, in order to keep tabs on the police investigation. Anna’s obsession with Amanda, and the need for revenge drives her to do whatever it takes to protect Liam from Amanda. But who really needs protection—and from whom?

This is not a book to be read while half-asleep. Told from multiple POVs, with scenes taking place in the past as well as the present, you can easily get confused about who did what, when they did it, and why. I certainly did, so much so that I started and stopped reading it a couple of times before I finally got serious and paid attention… otherwise known as NOT reading while I was half-asleep. (It’s amazing how much your reading comprehension improves when you can actually concentrate on the words you’re looking at…)

If ever a character ran me through the full gamut of emotions, it was Anna. There were times early on that I thought she was quite possibly the most uninteresting character I’ve ever read in my life. Ah, but those first impressions aren’t always to be trusted! Anna was actually a character of surprising depth. Once I knew all the details of what shaped Anna into who she was, everything she said and did made perfect sense to me. Huge kudos to Slater for creating such an intricate character!

All was definitely not as it seemed in this deliciously convoluted story, and I absolutely LOVED that.  K.L. Slater definitely has a fan in me. I can’t wait to read more of her work!

(Can convoluted be used in a complimentary way? I hope so, because that’s how I meant it!)

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Author: K.L. Slater

Title: Safe With Me

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: November 3rd, 2016 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Thirteen years ago someone did something very bad to Anna. Now it’s her turn to get even …

Anna lives a solitary existence, taking solace in order and routine. Her only friend is the lonely old lady next door. She doesn’t like to let people to get too close – she knows how much damage they can do.

Then one ordinary day Anna witnesses a devastating road accident and recognises the driver as Carla, the woman who ruined her life all those years ago. Now it’s Anna’s chance to set things straight but her revenge needs to be executed carefully …

First she needs to get to know Liam, the man injured in the accident. She needs to follow the police investigation. She needs to watch Carla from the shadows…

But as Anna’s obsession with Carla escalates, her own secrets start to unravel. Is Carla really dangerous or does Anna need to worry about someone far closer to home?

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller, perfect for fans of The Girl on the Train and The Sister.

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About the Author

kl_slater
Author K.L. Slater

For many years, Kim sent her work out to literary agents but never made it off the slush pile. At the age of 40 she went back to Nottingham Trent University and now has an MA in Creative Writing.

Before graduating, she received five offers of representation from London literary agents which was, as Kim says, ‘a fairytale … at the end of a very long road!’

Kim is a full-time writer and lives in Nottingham with her husband, Mac.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

Book Reviews

#Review: Bad Little Girl by Frances Vick @franvicksays @bookouture

Bad Little Girl cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

Everyone, even her parents, says Lorna Bell is a bad little girl. But when a child tells you someone is abusing her, you have to believe her, no matter what. Because a little girl would never lie about something so terrible. Would she?

Bad Little Girl is a dark psychological thriller that will leave you feeling horrified at how truly evil someone can be, and how far they are willing to go in order to get what they want.

There were several things I liked about this novel. The story is much different from anything I’ve read in a while, with strong characters and vividly written throughout. I could easily picture everything in my mind as I read; even as I write this review more than a month later, I can still ‘see’ several scenes that played out in the story.

The one thing I was disappointed with, and what ultimately led me to give a three star rating rather than a four star rating, was being able to figure out a few key things in the story long before it was ultimately revealed near the end of the novel. I’m still torn on whether or not it’s fair to give it the lower rating, but I’ll leave it as that’s how I rated it immediately after I finished it.

Rating uncertainties aside, Frances Vick is definitely a worthy addition to my Author Radar. I’ll be on the lookout for more of her work!

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Author: Frances Vick

Title: Bad Little Girl

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: February 22nd 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐

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‘I’m not safe – you have to help me…’

Little Lorna Bell is from a notorious family on a rundown estate. Everyone thinks she’s a nasty piece of work. The schoolchildren call her a thief. But Lorna’s hair is matted, her shoes pinch her feet and school teacher Claire Penny can’t help herself; some kids just need a bit more support, a bit more love, than the rest.

As the bond between teacher and pupil grows stronger, Claire sees Lorna’s bruises, and digs to uncover the disturbing tale behind them. Heartbroken, Claire knows she has to act. She must make Lorna safe. Just when Claire thinks she has protected Lorna, a chance encounter brings enigmatic stranger Marianne Cairns into their lives. Marianne seems generous and kind but there is something about her story that doesn’t quite add up. Why does she feel so at home, and why is Lorna suddenly so unsettled?

Claire has risked everything to save Lorna. But what can save Claire from the shocking truth?

An utterly unputdownable and darkly compelling read that will have fans of The Girl on the Train, The Sister, and Gone Girl absolutely hooked.

About the Author

frances_vickThe only child of parents who worked at a top security psychiatric hospital, Frances grew up receiving disquieting notes and presents from the patients. Expelled from school, she spent the next few years on the dole, augmenting her income by providing security and crewing for gigs, and being a guinea pig for medical trials. Later jobs included working in a theatre in Manhattan, teaching English in Japanese Junior High Schools, and being a life model in Italy, before coming back to London and working with homeless teenagers and refugees.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

Book Reviews

#Review: The Silent Wife by Kerry Fisher @kerryfswayne @bookouture

The Silent Wife cover

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

Shortly before publication day rolled around, this book—previously titled The Secrets of Second Wives— was given a makeover. While I didn’t dislike the original title and cover image, I have to agree that the changes were for the best. The new cover image is captivating; the new title succinct and just a bit mysterious.

I’ve come to expect characters who feel authentic and stay true to their roles in Fisher’s books, and she definitely delivered on that score. Whether it was the image they presented in front of others, or the true selves revealed only in their thoughts and/or private moments, there was never a moment of atypical behavior. (I’ve read many books where that was not the case, so it’s worth mentioning.)

While Maggie’s story is interesting, I have to admit Lara’s story was far more fascinating to me. The things Lara kept silent about—as well as the why and how behind her silence—were far more serious and worrisome than the things Maggie kept hidden, in my opinion. I felt far more concerned about her than I ever did about Maggie, even though I cared about her story, as well. The silence is shattered for both women in an explosive scene that shines the unflattering light of truth on those closest to them, shaking the entire family to the core and changing all their lives forever. One character in particular gets some much needed comeuppance and I loved every moment of it!

This is a great read by a great author, and I definitely recommend it!

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Author: Kerry Fisher

Title: The Silent Wife

Genre: Women’s Fiction

Published: February 24th, 2017 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

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Would you risk everything for the man you loved? Even if you knew he’d done something terrible?

Lara’s life looks perfect on the surface. Gorgeous doting husband Massimo, sweet little son Sandro and the perfect home. Lara knows something about Massimo. Something she can’t tell anyone else or everything Massimo has worked so hard for will be destroyed: his job, their reputation, their son. This secret is keeping Lara a prisoner in her marriage.

Maggie is married to Massimo’s brother Nico and lives with him and her troubled stepdaughter. She knows all of Nico’s darkest secrets – or so she thinks. The one day she discovers a letter in the attic which reveals a shocking secret about Nico’s first wife Caitlin. Will Maggie set the record straight or keep silent to protect those she loves?

For a family held together by lies, the truth will come at a devastating price.

A heart-wrenching, emotionally gripping read for fans of Amanda Prowse, Liane Moriarty and Diane Chamberlain. 

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About the Author

Author Kerry Fisher
Author Kerry Fisher

Born in Peterborough, Kerry Fisher studied French and Italian, and taught English in Corsica and Spain before climbing to holiday rep and grape picker in Tuscany. She eventually returned to England to ‘get a proper job’, and spent two years in features at Essentials magazine. She now lives in Surrey with her husband, two teenagers and a very naughty lab/schnauzer called Poppy.

Kerry’s first novel, The School Gate Survival Guide, was published by Avon, HarperCollins in 2014. Her second book, The Island Escape, came out in May 2015. It won first prize at the York Festival of Writing for the opening line: ‘I was wearing the wrong bra for sitting in a police cell’.

Author photo and bio courtesy of Bookouture.

Book Reviews

Review: The Gift by Louise Jensen

The Gift by Louise Jensen

The perfect daughter. The perfect girlfriend. The perfect murder?

Jenna is seriously ill. She’s lost all hope of getting the heart transplant she needs to live. But just as her life is ebbing away, she receives a donor heart from a girl called Callie.

Who was Callie and how did she die? Jenna is determined to find out.

The closer Jenna gets to those who loved Callie, the more questions arise about her untimely death. Someone knows what happened to Callie. Why won’t they talk?

Jenna is about to uncover the truth, but it could cost her everything; her loved ones, her sanity, even her life.

A compelling, gripping psychological thriller with a killer twist from the author of the Number One bestseller The Sister.

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Author: Louise Jensen

Title: The Gift

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: December 16th, 2016 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

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I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

Have you ever read a book that so incredibly good, you wanted to tell everyone you meet that they MUST read it? Well, allow me to introduce you to The Gift, because this is an experience you don’t want to miss! Gripping, riveting, spellbinding, engrossing—whip out your thesaurus and pick any synonym you like—this fascinating psychological thriller will have you staying up way past your bedtime. But don’t worry… it’s well worth the book hangover.

Jenna is nearing six months of recovery from a heart transplant. She’s been having dreams and flashbacks of memories that are not her own, not to mention behaving in ways that are not like herself. In her quest to understand, she researches cellular memory—the theory that the cells in your body can store memories which can then be transferred to another person after receiving an organ transplant—and becomes convinced this is the cause of it all.

Breaking the rules and going against the advice of everyone she knows, she contacts the family of the young woman whose heart now beats in her chest. The more she learns about Callie, and what happened the night of the accident that took her life, the more convinced she is that there is more to it than anyone knows. Determined to find out what really happened, she insinuates herself into the lives of the people who knew Callie best, and uncovers unsettling information that makes her believe Callie’s “accident” was, in fact, murder.

Risking her fragile health and, indeed, her own life, Jenna is willing to do whatever it takes to learn what really happened to Callie that night. But when the answer comes, it’s far more insidious (and heartbreaking) than Jenna could ever have imagined.

Jensen’s writing throughout is superb. The attention to detail regarding Jenna’s recovery, and the sensitivity in showing the emotions of Callie’s family was excellent. The ominous sense of eminent danger had me on the edge of my seat from page one. Simply put, it’s everything you could hope for in a psychological thriller, and then some.

About the Author

Louise Jensen
Louise Jensen

Louise Jensen always wanted to be Enid Blyton when she grew up, and when that didn’t happen she got a ‘proper’ job instead.

Several years ago an accident left Louise with a disability and she began writing once again, to distract her from her pain and compromised mobility. But writing turned out to be more than just a good distraction. Louise loves creating exciting worlds, dark characters, and twisted plots.

Louise lives in Northamptonshire with her husband, sons, a madcap spaniel and a rather naughty cat, and also teaches mindfulness.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.

Book Reviews

Review: While You Were Sleeping by Kathryn Croft

While You Were Sleeping

You wake up to find the man beside you is dead.
He is not your husband. This is not your bed.
What do you do?

Tara Logan lives a quiet life with her husband, Noah, and two children, teenager Rosie and eleven-year-old Spencer.

But her peace is shattered when she wakes in her neighbour Lee’s bed, with no memory of how she got there or what happened between them.
And worse – he has been stabbed to death.

Convinced she didn’t kill Lee, Tara stays silent, fearing the truth will rip her family apart.

But as her daughter spirals out of control, and her husband becomes increasingly distant, Tara soon realises that someone in her life knows what really happened to Lee. She must get to the truth before they do.

Tara made a mistake … but will one night cost her everything?

A gripping, shocking psychological thriller, with a twist that will take you by surprise.

Will engross fans of Gone Girl, Behind Closed Doors, and The Girl on the Train.

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Author: Kathryn Croft

Title: While You Were Sleeping

Genre: Psychological Thriller

Published: November 16, 2016 by Bookouture

Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐

I received an advance review copy of this book courtesy of Netgalley and Bookouture.

What could be more horrifying than waking up naked in your neighbor’s bed and realizing he’d been brutally murdered while you slept? For Tara Logan, the fear of being found out was as paralyzing as waking up next to a dead man, and having no memory of how she got there, or what happened the night before.

Desperate to keep her terrifying secret, Tara does what she can to find out what the murder investigation has uncovered, if anything.Before long, she finds herself in the midst of her worst nightmare as suspects are questioned, revealing things that could result in the destruction of her family. Her only hope is to find out the identity of the killer—and soon—before she loses everything and everyone she holds dear.

This book has more twists and turns than an old country road. Just when I thought I knew something for certain, something would happen to prove me wrong again and again. I’m not exaggerating when I say that I suspected almost everyone of being the killer, at one time or another. I was confident I could figure out who did it, but I was blown away and completely shocked when the killer’s identity was finally revealed. I never saw it coming.

If you like to get wrapped up in a well-written psychological thriller, this is the book for you!

About the Author

Kathryn Croft
Kathryn Croft

Kathryn worked in HR and management training before her passion for literature led her to train as an English teacher. She spent six years teaching secondary school English; a job she believes was invaluable to her writing career. Kathryn now devotes all her time to writing.

Author photo and bio via Bookouture.